Notley makes personal plea for federal help to build new pipeline

Alberta can no longer fuel the growth of Canada’s economy without the federal government’s help building a new pipeline, Premier Rachel Notley warned in a televised address on Thursday.

A week before her NDP government’s first full budget, Ms. Notley cautioned Albertans that the province is facing a $10-billion deficit and won’t see a balanced budget for years to come. To help Alberta’s economy recover, she vowed to get a pipeline approved from the province’s oil sands to one of Canada’s coasts.

“We can’t continue to support Canada’s economy unless Canada supports us,” she said. “That means one thing: building a modern and carefully regulated pipeline.”

Alberta’s premiers have taken to the airwaves in the past when all is not well in their province and growing disapproval numbers can no longer be ignored: Ralph Klein did it to announce deep cuts; Alison Redford tried to explain why deficits were growing; and Jim Prentice opened the door to tax increases.

On Thursday, it was Ms. Notley’s turn, warning that her province’s stark economic situation requires more help from Ottawa.

“You need to give us the tools necessary to get through this tough economy ourselves. That means getting Canadian energy to new markets,” she said, directing her comments at the federal government.

At a news conference earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he supported bringing Alberta’s oil to new markets. However, he has said that the federal government needs to be backed up by a pipeline review that Canadians can trust.

Seated at her kitchen table beside a bowl of oranges and apples, Ms. Notley spoke for 15 minutes on Thursday evening, warning Alberta families that the province’s economy is “dangerously dependent on the price of oil.”

Finance Minister Joe Ceci will table a budget next Thursday that comes three weeks before Ms. Notley’s government marks its first year in office. With oil prices down two-thirds from where they were in the summer of 2014, the province is suffering through its second consecutive year of recession.

According to Ms. Notley, the royalties Alberta collects from oil and gas producers this year will be down 90 per cent from the $10-billion collected two years ago, accounting for much of the province’s revenue shortfall. Pledging not to cut social programs, she said her government is not eyeing any major spending increases – a clear message to public-sector unions preparing for negotiations in the coming months.

Airing on two major television networks, the address cost $85,000, according to Ms. Notley’s office, with a further $55,000 set aside for a response from the province’s opposition leader to be broadcast early next week.

Whether it was Mr. Klein speaking from a fireside or now Ms. Notley at her kitchen table, Alberta premiers turn to televised addresses when they want to sidestep reporters and speak directly to the public, said Chaldeans Mensah, a political scientist at Edmonton’s MacEwan University. “It’s a mechanism where they use the bully pulpit of the premier’s office to reach out to the ordinary voter without a filter,” Dr. Mensah said. “And the NDP hasn’t been getting any positive vibes from the public lately.”

Ms. Notley’s message was too little, too late from a premier who has “let other provinces and governments demonize our industry,” responded the Leader of Alberta’s Wildrose opposition on Thursday. “Albertans need more than just standing up to Ottawa when we are obviously being treated blatantly unfairly,” Brian Jean said.

The televised message will help Albertans better understand the Premier’s plans, responding to a common complaint from a recent budget tour, Cheryl Oates, her communications director, said in an interview. “People want to hear from us more, they don’t know exactly what we’re doing, they haven’t heard what our plan is and they want to hear more from the Premier.”

Ms. Notley’s approval rating fell to 33 per cent in February from 53 per cent after her election, according to the Angus Reid Institute.

“Her numbers have dropped precipitously,” said Shachi Kurl, the institute’s executive director. “When you’ve got the usual progression of falling numbers [after an election] … and the catastrophic factors facing Alberta, both help explain Rachel Notley’s slide.”

Also on The Globe and Mail

Alberta needs Ottawa’s help, but what about the rest of the country?
(BNN Video)

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail


  • Bitumen Queen

    After getting an unexpected NDP win in Alberta, Notley after attacking & restricting the Oil industry environmentally and tax wise has politely asked the rest of Canada and the Feds, to be nice and let Alberta get a pipeline to tide water… a breakfast prerecorded talk.

    The current low oil price world wide for the 3rd time recently has certainly affected Alberta’s economy again especially with only one small pipeline which has been in service through BC for the last 45 years that is exporting some of Alberta’s Oil offshore. The rest of western Canada’s oil & NG goes to the US at preferred lower prices. Some western oil may get to the Suncor & Valero refineries in Quebec after activists, environmentalis­ts’s and their politicians and the new federal government NEB and NRC decide to approve the commissioning of the line.

    Federal & provincial governments all across Canada have found a new way od funding through the petroleum industry , taxes, carbon trading and tax and severe restrictions on the industry. Current low oil prices & the the new taxes on the whole industry in Canada has the industry abandoning all CAPEX and expansion all across Canada and especially in Alberta. Notely has laid her NDP mandate & policy upon the Oil Sands and the rest of the petroleum industry already making it highly uneconomical to operate in Alberta.

    So her polite message to Alberta today and to the rest of Canada means nothing in the eyes of the industry as JT & Notely both signed the Paris agreement end of story. The Vacuum being created by the industry as it abandons Alberta is only getting worse now. There will be no pipelines approved federally in the foreseeable future………­Energy East will not even get through NEB reviews until after the next federal election never mind Notely’s plea today.. . The expansion pipeline line through to Vancouver from Alberta is so mired in environmental political bureaucracy it may be abandoned.

  • Lee666

    This should make for an interesting NDP convention where a significant per centage of delegates want to “leave the oil in the ground”. At least Notley has seen the light, now it is time for Mulclair, Trudeau and the rest to wake up as well and get these pipelines done like yesterday!

  • TomKatt

    It is ridiculous that “special interest groups” primarily funded by US, OPEC and others have high-jacked our national economic needs to export our natural resources since it favors their global economic positioning. We are captive to the US for all our export of oil, yet they are now an independent producer which will be “exporting” their oil to the rest of the world while Canada remains landlocked and selling their oil for the lowest global prices. Time for Federal leadership. If the past were managed by today’s standards we not have a national railway or road system coast-to-coast. No, we prefer to exponentially increase railway traffic and risk versus new pipeline technology because the current strategy is to “strangle” the patient to rather than improve the technology, management and effectiveness of the situation. How silly and short-sighted.

  • Robert MacDiarmid

    Pipe should have been in place 5 years ago. Failure of our political system.

  • sidthekid

    Even those to the left of the left have to face the elephant in the room: reality!

  • Viscount Haldane

    I strongly support Notley on this.

    It’s like how only Nixon could go to China… maybe only the vocal support of the NDP can get the pipelines built. When the NDP say it needs to be done, maybe people will wake up and realize it *does* need to be done.

  • Busby

    Mr.I just want to put Canadian gas in my car. Is that too much to ask?

  • Clancy1

    She is right on the money, why is Canada oil sold only to the US with a 50% reduction in value over what we would get on the international market. Why do we in eastern Canada import high cost international priced oil, when we have lots in Canada. It. Is time for Trudeau to step up and declare the national interest in getting the pipelines built and launch this infrastructure project. All other useless gov infrastructure spending must be stopped until this is done. It does not cost the public purse a cent, it is bigger than the liberals spending, it puts the oil workers all across the country back to work and it puts Canada oil into the international price range. As for the provinces, Indians and every other group looking for more money, they are already in the trough of the public purse for enough. Get on board, get your money form existing process and support this national project. father Trudeau had the vision, plan all we can hope is that the son will follow through on his fathers dream for Canada. Even PET realized if Canada oil is not treated as a national resource, all of the interest groups now getting money from the Feds were going to loss cash as our finances could no longer support payments for things like; Medicare, billions to the Indians, billions to the so called have not provinces, like the PQ he was from. The timing is now for the Trudeau vision.

  • logikall

    “At a news conference earlier this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he supported bringing Alberta’s oil to new markets. However, he has said that the federal government needs to be backed up by a pipeline review that Canadians can trust.”

    Wow, what a spin. Actually what happened was Trudeau said he strongly supported the pipeline out of one side of his mouth, and then created an approval system where everyone has the right to say no and no one can say yes.

  • davidb1948

    If Canada is to succeed we all have to cooperate rather than seek personal advantage at the expense of the overall good. As a Montrealer, I am ashamed of the declaration of the regional Mayors that they would insist on a No Risk solution. They must know that there is always some risk. The task is to minimize it and have contingency plans to deal with unforeseen events, as we do with traffic accidents.

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